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    Thyroid storm

    Thyrotoxic storm; Hyperthyroid storm; Accelerated hyperthyroidism

    Thyroid storm is a life-threatening condition that develops in cases of untreated thyrotoxicosis (hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid).

    Causes

    Thyroid storm results from untreated hyperthyroidism. It is usually brought on by a stress such as trauma or infection.

    Symptoms

    Symptoms are severe and may include:

    • Agitation
    • Change in alertness (consciousness)
    • Confusion
    • Diarrhea
    • Fever
    • Pounding heart (tachycardia)
    • Restlessness
    • Shaking
    • Sweating

    Exams and Tests

    • The top number in a blood pressure reading may be high
    • Heart rate is increased

    Blood tests are done to evaluate thyroid function.

    • TSH is usually too low to detect.
    • Thyroid hormone levels such as free T4 and total T3 are high.

    Possible Complications

    Congestive heart failure and pulmonary edema can develop rapidly and lead to death.

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    This is an emergency condition. Call 911 or another emergency number if you have hyperthyroidism and experience symptoms of thyroid storm.

    References

    AACE Thyroid Task Force. American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists medical guidelines for clinical practice for the evaluation and treatment of hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Endocr Pract. 2002;8(6):457-469.

    Ladenson P, Kim M. Thyroid. In: Goldman L and Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders; 2007:chap 244.

    Davies TF, Larsen PR. Thyrotoxicosis. In: Kronenberg HM, Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2008:chap 11.

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    • Thyroid gland

      illustration

      • Thyroid gland

        illustration

      A Closer Look

        Self Care

          Tests for Thyroid storm

            Review Date: 6/4/2012

            Reviewed By: Shehzad Topiwala, MD, Chief Consultant Endocrinologist, Premier Medical Associates, The Villages, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

            The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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            St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
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